One year on for our Chief Executive

Martyn Henderson, Chief Executive of the SGSA started one year ago today.  Here he reflects on his first year and looks ahead to the future.

Today marks my first anniversary as Chief Executive of the SGSA so I’ve been reflecting on the organisation’s successes over the past year, including the launch of the new Green Guide, our work with FIFA in southern Africa and the pragmatic guidance we have developed on the safe management of standing, which recognises the developments of recent years in both practice and technology.  You can read more about our work here.

For a small organisation, we have also experienced a large turnover of personnel, both in headquarters and the inspectorate.  I’m hugely grateful to everyone in the organisation for the way they have adapted to change and ensured that we have continued to provide a high quality service to our partners and to the public.  In a recent survey, 84% agreed or strongly agreed that we are an effective regulator for football while 90% agreed we set the standards for sports ground safety.

But I’m more interested in looking forward than looking back.  With new Ministers and a comprehensive spending review on the horizon, which will set our government grant for the next three years, I’m now working on our strategy for the next five years.

First and foremost, I want us to focus on core purpose, which is to regulate and raise safety standards. But I also want to build on our fantastic work in Northern Ireland and with partners like the ECB, FIFA and Interpol to become recognised as the world’s leading authority on sports grounds safety.  Critically, I also want to develop and modernise our organisation so that we can, for example, make greater use of technology.

We will publish our new strategy later this year and set out how we intend to do all of the above, while still delivering great value for the taxpayer.

Finally, it wouldn’t be right to focus solely on the SGSA.  I want to pay tribute to all those with whom we work to ensure safety at our sports grounds and particularly to match commanders, safety officers and SAG Chairs, whose work is largely invisible to supporters but who carry an enormous weight of responsibility on their shoulders.  They do an amazing job and I’m really looking forward to supporting them in the months and hopefully years ahead to ensure that everyone can enjoy live sport safely.